Close-to-practice research: the need for student voice and the strange case of Academy x

Simon Edwards*, Chris Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

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    The idea that teaching and school leadership should be informed by research and other evidence has developed traction recently in England and other jurisdictions (Whitty and Wisby, 2017). Yet, such research ‘has rarely considered the student perspective as an integral component of leadership decision-making’ (Mansfield, Welton and Halx (2012: 21). This article presents a case study of an ‘all through’ Academy in the South of England (Academy x) that attempted to address this issue through research that was close to practice in nature. Here, school leaders, teachers, parents and specifically disadvantaged male students’ perspectives of barriers and enablers to their attainment were explored with a view to working collaboratively with these stakeholders to respond to the findings. However, we had not taken into account that the credibility of the students’ perspectives and the nature of the messages emerging from the findings would be questioned and influence a decision by school leaders not to act upon them. We consider how these issues might be addressed if student voice as a form of Close to Practice Research is to become a reality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number18.3
    Pages (from-to)480–494
    Number of pages15
    JournalLondon Review of Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2020


    • student voice
    • close-to-practice-research
    • disadvantage
    • attainment


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